Unvaccinated People Are No Longer Banned From Here, Starting Today

Officials have started lifting vaccine mandates amid falling COVID cases.

Over the last several months, many of us have gotten used to being asked to show our vaccination card before going into restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters. These vaccine mandates were created to slow the spread of COVID cases in the U.S. during the Delta and Omicron surges, but the country is no longer in quite as volatile a state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID infections have dropped by more than 42 percent over the last week. As numbers continue to fall, some officials have started reversing the restrictions they've had in place.

RELATED: Unvaccinated People Will Be Barred From Here Completely, Starting Feb. 21.

On Feb. 10, Minnesota's Twin Cities Mayors Melvin Carter and Jacob Frey made a joint statement, announcing the repeal of their vaccine mandates for restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, as reported by the Star Tribune. Since January, people in Minneapolis and St. Paul have been required to show proof of vaccination to enter these spaces. If not, they had to provide a negative COVID test result.

But unvaccinated individuals are no longer barred from indoor places in the Twin Cities as of Feb. 11, following the removal of the policy amid rapidly declining infections and hospitalizations. "We always want to try and be as least invasive as possible when we're coming from a public health perspective," Minneapolis interim Health Commissioner Heidi Ritchie told the Star Tribune.

She added, "We felt like in the areas where there were people who were eating and drinking and they couldn't feasibly wear a mask, that vaccination was really the best way to keep everybody safe. At this point with the transmission rates dropping the way that they are, the hospitalization rates not as precarious as they were, we're comfortable pulling that more invasive regulation backwards."

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It's possible that more vaccine mandates will be reversed in the coming months. On Feb. 8, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said she would consider ending the city's vaccine mandate for indoor businesses soon if COVID hospitalizations and case numbers continue to fall, The Boston Globe reported. A spokesman for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also recently told NBC Chicago that the city plans to end its proof-of-vaccination mandate by the end of the month if COVID metrics allow.

And it's not just vaccine mandates ending. At least 11 states have already lifted one or more city mask requirements since Feb. 7, ABC News reported. This began with New Jersey Gov. Phillip D. Murphy announcing on that day that the state's schools would no longer require students and school employees to wear masks, per The New York Times—spurring a snowball effect for other officials to call off mandates. The other states include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington, per ABC.

But CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has not co-signed the removal of these restrictions, and the agency's policy still advises that masks be worn in schools and in indoor settings within areas of high or substantial COVID transmission. "Our hospitalizations are still high, our death rates are still high," she told radio station WYPR on Feb. 8. "So, as we work toward that and as we are encouraged by the current trends, we are not there yet."

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said When COVID Restrictions Will Really Be Gone.

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